BC Ferries is urging anyone traveling during both long weekends to plan ahead by booking reservations, or traveling without a vehicle after they anticipate close to 400,000 people will be using the ferries during the Thanksgiving long weekend.
In a press conference, BC says they have taken necessary, just like the last long weekend, to make sure all customers have a smooth long weekend but that could be hindered by the increase in students traveling home for the first time.
Vice President Brian Anderson says Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times and ferry terminal staff are amping up to handle the influx of passengers looking to travel.
“We have all of our ticket booths planned to be opened,” he says. “Our on-board and terminal staff are ready to move people as quickly and smoothly as possible. We also have special traffic management plans in place to guide customers to and through the terminals.”
Anderson says real-time traffic updates will be provided throughout the long weekend so passengers can plan ahead.
While BC Ferries is planning a smooth long weekend, for both Thanksgiving and the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, they say the Spirit of Vancouver Island will be removed from service to repair ballast tanks.
According to BC Ferries the vessel will be drydocked from Oct. 10-18, and two vessels will provide service from Oct. 11-18 along the Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay route.
With the Coastal Renaissance still being repaired, BC Ferries says there will be no relief vessel to handle additional loads along the route.
They also say the Coastal Renaissance is anticipated to be out of service until December.
Executive director of engineers Steven Jones says the engine is being repaired and once they get it back the vessel will undergo some refit before returning to service.
“The rotor is being repaired with a contractor in Indiana and is scheduled to be back the first week of December,” he says. “Once we get it back extensive refits will have to be done, but we anticipate it will end on Dec. 14.”
The repairs, to the Coastal Renaissance, are expected to cost approximately $3,000,000.